Michael Strogoff: The Courier of the Czar is a novel written by Jules Verne in 1876. Critics, including Leonard S. Davidow, consider it one of Verne's best books. Davidow wrote, "Jules Verne has written no better book than this, in fact it is deservedly ranked as one of the most thrilling tales written." Unlike some of Verne's other novels, it is not science fiction, but a scientific phenomenon is a plot device. The book was adapted to a play, by Verne himself and Adolphe d'Ennery. Incidental music to the play was written by Alexandre Artus in 1880; the book has been adapted several times for films and cartoon series. Michael Strogoff, a 30-year-old native of Omsk, is a courier for Tsar Alexander II of Russia; the Tartar Khan, Feofar Khan, incites a rebellion and separates the Russian Far East from the mainland, severing telegraph lines. Rebels encircle Irkutsk, where a brother of the Tsar, is making a last stand. Strogoff is sent to Irkutsk to warn the governor about the traitor Ivan Ogareff, a former colonel, once demoted and exiled and now seeks revenge against the imperial family.
He intends to gain the governor's trust and betray him to the Tartar hordes. On his way to Irkutsk, Strogoff meets Nadia Fedor, daughter of an exiled political prisoner, Basil Fedor, granted permission to join her father at his exile in Irkutsk, the English war correspondent Harry Blount of the Daily Telegraph and Alcide Jolivet, a Frenchman reporting for his'cousin Madeleine'. Blount and Jolivet tend to follow the same route as Michael and meeting again all the way through Siberia, he is supposed to travel under a false identity, posing as the pacific merchant Nicolas Korpanoff but he is discovered by the Tartars when he meets his mother in their home city of Omsk. Michael, his mother and Nadia are captured by the Tartar forces, along with thousands of other Russians, during the storming of a city in the Ob basin; the tartars do not know Strogoff by sight, but Ogareff is aware of the courier's mission and when he is told that Strogoff's mother spotted her son in the crowd and called his name, but received no reply, he understands that Strogoff is among the captured and devises a scheme to force the mother to indicate him.
Strogoff is indeed caught and handed over to the Tartars, Ogareff alleges that Michael is a spy, hoping to have him put to death in some cruel way. After opening the Koran at random, Feofar decides that Michael will be blinded as punishment in the Tartar fashion, with a gleaming hot blade. For several chapters the reader is led to believe that Michael was indeed blinded, but it transpires in fact that he was saved from this fate and was only pretending. Michael and Nadia escape, travel to Irkutsk with a friendly peasant, Nicolas Pigassof, they are recaptured by the Tartars and Nicolas witnesses Nadia being raped by a tartar soldier and murders Nadia's assaulter. The Tartars abandon Nadia and Michael and carry Nicolas away, reserving him for a greater punishment. Nadia and Michael discover him buried up to his neck in the ground, they continue onwards where they are delayed by the frozen river. However, they reach Irkutsk, warn the Tsar's brother in time of Ivan Ogareff. Nadia's father, appointed commander of a suicide battalion, pardoned, joins them and Michael and Nadia are married.
Exact sources of Verne's quite accurate knowledge of contemporary Eastern Siberia remain disputed. One popular version connects it to the novelist's meetings with anarchist Peter Kropotkin. Another, more source, could have been Siberian businessman Mikhail Sidorov. Sidorov presented his collection of natural resources, including samples of oil and oil shales from Ukhta area, together with photographs of Ukhta oil wells, at the 1873 World Exhibition in Vienna, where he could have met Verne. Real-world oil deposits in Lake Baikal region do exist, first discovered in 1902 in Barguzin Bay and Selenge River delta, but they are nowhere near the commercial size depicted by Verne. Verne's publisher Pierre-Jules Hetzel sent the manuscript of the novel to the Russian writer Ivan Turgenev in August 1875 asking him for his comments on the accuracy of the conditions described in the book. While the physical description of Siberia is accurate, the Tartar rebellion described is fictional and rather implausible.
Wars with Tartars and Mongols were a major aspect of Medieval Russian history, but the Russians gained the upper hand long before the 19th Century, no Tartar Khan at the time of writing was in a position to act as Feofar is described as doing. The town of Marfa, Texas was named after the character Marfa Strogoff in this novel. In 2017 a board game was published by Devir Games, designed by Alberto Corral and developed and illustrated by Pedro Soto. Similar to the book, in the game players are couriers racing across Russia to thwart the assassination plot by Count Ivan Ogareff. Players will race one another but will race the Count, who moves across Russia on a separate track. Along the way, players must face and overcome troubles such as bears and bad weather, avoid the spy Sangarra who tries to delay their progress, avoid capture by the Tartar forces who conspire with Count Ogareff. Players must balance the racing element of the game, resting enough to preserve health, dealing with the troubles they face along the way before crisis ensues.
The game ends when a player confronts Ogareff in Irkusk and a showdown
Piracy is an act of robbery or criminal violence by ship or boat-borne attackers upon another ship or a coastal area with the goal of stealing cargo and other valuable items or properties. Those who engage in acts of piracy are called pirates; the earliest documented instances of piracy were in the 14th century BC, when the Sea Peoples, a group of ocean raiders, attacked the ships of the Aegean and Mediterranean civilizations. Narrow channels which funnel shipping into predictable routes have long created opportunities for piracy, as well as for privateering and commerce raiding. Historic examples include the waters of Gibraltar, the Strait of Malacca, the Gulf of Aden, the English Channel, whose geographic structures facilitated pirate attacks. A land-based parallel is the ambushing of travelers by bandits and brigands in highways and mountain passes. Privateering uses similar methods to piracy, but the captain acts under orders of the state authorizing the capture of merchant ships belonging to an enemy nation, making it a legitimate form of war-like activity by non-state actors.
While the term can include acts committed in the air, on land, or in other major bodies of water or on a shore, in cyberspace, as well as the fictional possibility of space piracy, this article focuses on maritime piracy. It does not include crimes committed against people traveling on the same vessel as the perpetrator. Piracy or pirating is the name of a specific crime under customary international law and the name of a number of crimes under the municipal law of a number of states. In the early 21st century, seaborne piracy against transport vessels remains a significant issue in the waters between the Red Sea and Indian Ocean, off the Somali coast, in the Strait of Malacca and Singapore. Today, pirates armed with automatic weapons, such as assault rifles, machine guns and rocket propelled grenades use small motorboats to attack and board ships, a tactic that takes advantage of the small number of crew members on modern cargo vessels and transport ships, they use larger vessels, known as "mother ships", to supply the smaller motorboats.
The international community is facing many challenges in bringing modern pirates to justice, as these attacks occur in international waters. Some nations have used their naval forces to protect private ships from pirate attacks and to pursue pirates, some private vessels use armed security guards, high-pressure water cannons, or sound cannons to repel boarders, use radar to avoid potential threats; the English word "pirate" comes from the Latin term purateivitia and that from Greek πειρατής, "brigand", in turn from πειράομαι, "I attempt", from πεῖρα, "attempt, experience". The meaning of the Greek word peiratēs is "one who attacks"; the word is cognate to peril. The term first appeared in English c. 1300. Spelling did not become standardised until the eighteenth century, spellings such as "pirrot", "pyrate" and "pyrat" occurred until this period, it may be reasonable to assume that piracy has existed for as long as the oceans were plied for commerce. As early as 258 AD, the Gothic-Herulic fleet ravaged towns on the coasts of the Black Sea and Sea of Marmara.
The Aegean coast suffered similar attacks a few years later. In 264, the Goths reached Galatia and Cappadocia, Gothic pirates landed on Cyprus and Crete. In the process, the Goths took thousands into captivity. In 286 AD, Carausius, a Roman military commander of Gaulish origins, was appointed to command the Classis Britannica, given the responsibility of eliminating Frankish and Saxon pirates, raiding the coasts of Armorica and Belgic Gaul. In the Roman province of Britannia, Saint Patrick was enslaved by Irish pirates; the most known and far-reaching pirates in medieval Europe were the Vikings, seaborne warriors from Scandinavia who raided and looted between the 8th and 12th centuries, during the Viking Age in the Early Middle Ages. They raided the coasts and inland cities of all Western Europe as far as Seville, attacked by the Norse in 844. Vikings attacked the coasts of North Africa and Italy and plundered all the coasts of the Baltic Sea; some Vikings ascending the rivers of Eastern Europe as far as the Black Sea and Persia.
The lack of centralized powers all over Europe during the Middle Ages enabled pirates to attack ships and coastal areas all over the continent. In the Late Middle Ages, the Frisian pirates known as Arumer Zwarte Hoop led by Pier Gerlofs Donia and Wijerd Jelckama, fought against the troops of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V with some success. Toward the end of the 9th century, Moorish pirate havens were established along the coast of southern France and northern Italy. In 846 Moor raiders sacked the extra muros Basilicas of Saint Paul in Rome. In 911, the bishop of Narbonne was unable to return to France from Rome because the Moors from Fraxinet controlled all the passes in the Alps. Moor pirates operated out of the Balearic Islands in the 10th century. From 824 to 961 Arab pirates in the Emirate of Crete raided the entire Mediterranean. In the 14th century, raids by Moor pirates forced the Venetian Duke of Crete to ask Venice to keep its fleet on constant guard. After the Slavic invasions of the former Roman province of Dalmatia in the 5th and 6th centuries, a tribe called the Narentines revived the old Illyrian piratical habits and raided the Adriatic Sea starting in the 7th
The Fur Country
The Fur Country is an adventure novel by Jules Verne in The Extraordinary Voyages series, first published in 1873. The novel was serialized in Magasin d’Éducation et de Récréation from September 1872 to December 1873; the two-volume first original French edition and the first illustrated large-format edition were published in 1873. The first English translation by N. D’Anvers was published in 1873. In 1859 Lt. Jasper Hobson and other members of the Hudson's Bay Company travel through the Northwest Territories of Canada to Cape Bathurst on the Arctic Ocean on the mission to create a fort at 70 degrees, north of the Arctic Circle; the area they come to is rich with wildlife and natural resources. Jasper Hobson and his party establish a fort here. At some point, an earthquake occurs, from on, laws of physics seem altered, they realise that they are on an iceberg separated from the sea ice, drifting south. Hobson does a daily measurement to know the iceberg's location; the iceberg passes the Bering Strait and the iceberg reaches a small island.
A Danish whaling ship finds them. Every member in Hobson's party is rescued and they all survive. 1873, UK, London: Sampson Low, Pub date November 1873. O. Evans in 2 volumes as The Sun in Eclipse and Through the Behring Strait 1987, Toronto: NC Press ISBN 0-920053-82-3, Pub date October 1987.
The Mysterious Island
The Mysterious Island is a novel by Jules Verne, published in 1874. The original edition, published by Hetzel, contains a number of illustrations by Jules Férat; the novel is a crossover sequel to Verne's famous Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and In Search of the Castaways, though its themes are vastly different from those books. An early draft of the novel rejected by Verne's publisher and wholly reconceived before publication, was titled Shipwrecked Family: Marooned With Uncle Robinson, seen as indicating the influence of the novels Robinson Crusoe and The Swiss Family Robinson. Verne developed a similar theme in his novel, Godfrey Morgan; the plot focuses on the adventures of five Americans on an uncharted island in the South Pacific. During the American Civil War, five northern prisoners of war decide to escape, during the siege of Richmond, Virginia, by hijacking a balloon; the escapees are a railroad engineer in the Union army. The company is completed by Cyrus' dog "Top".aAfter flying in a great storm for several days, the group crash-lands on a cliff-bound, unknown island, described as being located at 34°57′S 150°30′W, about 2,500 kilometres east of New Zealand.
They name it "Lincoln Island" in honor of Abraham Lincoln. With the knowledge of the brilliant engineer Smith, the five are able to sustain themselves on the island, producing fire, bricks, iron, a simple electric telegraph, a home on a stony cliffside called "Granite House", a seaworthy ship, which they name the "Bonadventure", they manage to figure out their geographical location. During their stay on the island, the group endures bad weather, domesticates an orangutan, abbreviated to Jup. There is a mystery on the island in the form of an unseen deus ex machina, responsible for Cyrus' survival after falling from the balloon, the mysterious rescue of Top from a dugong, the appearance of a box of equipment, other inexplicable occurrences; the group finds a message in a bottle directing them to rescue a castaway on nearby Tabor Island, none other than Tom Ayrton. On the return voyage to Lincoln Island, they lose their way in a tempest but are guided back to their course by a mysterious fire beacon.
Ayrton's former companions arrive by chance on Lincoln Island, try to make it into their lair. After some fighting with the protagonists, the pirate ship is mysteriously destroyed by an explosion. Six of the pirates kidnap Ayrton; when the colonists go to look for him, the pirates shoot Harbert injuring him. Harbert suffers from his injury, narrowly cheating death; the colonists at first assume Ayrton to have been killed, but they find evidence that he was not killed, leaving his fate uncertain. When the colonists rashly attempt to return to Granite House before Harbert recovers, Harbert contracts malaria and is saved by a box of quinine sulphate, which mysteriously appears on the table in Granite House. After Harbert recovers, they attempt to destroy the pirates, they discover Ayrton at the sheepfold, the pirates dead, without any visible wounds. The secret of the island is revealed when it is discovered to be Captain Nemo's hideout, home port of the Nautilus. Having escaped the Maelstrom at the end of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, the Nautilus sailed the oceans of the world until all its crew except Nemo had died.
Now an old man, Nemo returned the Nautilus to its secret port within Lincoln Island. Nemo had been the mysterious benefactor of the settlers, providing them with the box of equipment, sending the message revealing Ayrton, planting the torpedo that destroyed the pirate ship, killing the pirates with an "electric gun". On his death bed Captain Nemo reveals his true identity as the lost Indian Prince Dakkar, son of a Raja of the independent territory of Bundelkund and a nephew of the Indian hero Tippu-Sahib. After taking part in the failed Indian Rebellion of 1857, Prince Dakkar escaped to a desert island with twenty of his compatriots and commenced the building of the Nautilus and adopted the new name of "Captain Nemo". Nemo tells his life story to Cyrus Smith and his friends. Before he dies, he gives them a box of pearls as a keepsake. Afterwards, he dies, whispering "God and my country!". The Nautilus is scuttled and serves as Captain Nemo's tomb.bAfterward, the island's central volcano erupts, destroying the island.
Jup the orangutan falls into a crack in the ground and dies. The colonists, forewarned of the eruption by Nemo, find themselves safe, but stranded on the last remaining piece of the island above sea level, they are rescued by the ship Duncan, which had come to rescue Ayrton, but were redirected by a message Nemo had left on Tabor Island. After they return to United States they form a new colony in Iowa, financed with Nemo's gifts. In the United States the first English printing began in Scribner's Monthly, April 1874, as a serial. In September 1875 Sampson Low, Marston and Searle published the first British edition of Mysterious Island in three volumes enti
In Search of the Castaways
In Search of the Castaways is a novel by the French writer Jules Verne, published in 1867–1868. The original edition, published by Hetzel, contains a number of illustrations by Édouard Riou. In 1876, it was republished by George Routledge & Sons as a three volume set titled A Voyage Round The World; the three volumes were subtitled South America and New Zealand. As with Verne, English translations have appeared under different names; the book tells the story of the quest for Captain Grant of the Britannia. After finding a bottle the captain had cast into the ocean after the Britannia is shipwrecked and Lady Glenarvan of Scotland contact Mary and Robert, the young daughter and son of Captain Grant, through an announcement in a newspaper; the government refuses to launch a rescue expedition, but Lord and Lady Glenarvan, moved by the children's condition, decide to do it by themselves. The main difficulty is that the coordinates of the wreckage are erased, only the latitude is known; the bottle was retrieved from a shark's stomach, so it is impossible to trace its origin by the currents.
Remaining clues consist of a few words in three languages. They are re-interpreted several times throughout the novel to make various destinations seem likely. Lord Glenarvan makes it his quest to find Grant. An unexpected passenger in the form of French geographer Jacques Paganel joins the search, they explore Patagonia, Tristan da Cunha Island, Amsterdam Island, Australia. There, they find a former quarter-master of the Britannia, who proposes to lead them to the site of the wreckage. However, Ayrton is a traitor, not present during the loss of the Britannia, but was abandoned in Australia after a failed attempt to seize control of the ship to practice piracy, he tries to take control of the Duncan, but by sheer luck, this attempt fails. However the Glenarvans, the Grant children and some sailors are left in Australia, mistakenly believing that the Duncan is lost, they sail to Auckland, New Zealand, from where they want to come back to Europe; when their ship is wrecked south of Auckland on the New Zealand coast, they are captured by a Māori tribe, but luckily manage to escape and board a ship that they discover, to their astonishment, to be the Duncan.
Ayrton, made a prisoner, offers to trade his knowledge of Captain Grant in exchange for being abandoned on a desert island instead of being surrendered to the British authorities. The Duncan sets sail for Tabor Island, which, by sheer luck, turns out to be Captain Grant's shelter, they leave Ayrton in his place to regain his humanity. Ayrton reappears in Verne's novel, L'Île mystérieuse. 1877 — Los sobrinos del Capitán Grant, a Spanish comic zarzuela by Miguel Ramos Carrión and Manuel Fernández Caballero. 1936 — The Children of Captain Grant, Soviet Union, directed by Vladimir Vajnshtok and starring Nikolai Cherkasov, film score composed by Isaak Dunayevsky. The film was released in the United States as Captain Grant's Children.. 1962 — In Search of the Castaways, United States, a film directed by Robert Stevenson and starring Maurice Chevalier, Hayley Mills, George Sanders. Songs by the Sherman Brothers were: "Castaway", "Enjoy It!", "Let's Climb", "Merci Beaucoup".. 1985 — In Search of Captain Grant, Bulgaria - Soviet Union, TV mini-series directed by Stanislav Govorukhin starring Nikolai Yeryomenko, Jr. Lembit Ulfsak, Aleksandr Abdulov, Kosta Tsonev, Anya Pencheva.
In Search of the Castaways at Project Gutenberg Les enfants du Capitaine Grant at Project Gutenberg In Search of the Castaways public domain audiobook at LibriVox 177 illustrations by Édouard Riou from Les Enfants du capitaine Grant
Tierra del Fuego
Tierra del Fuego is an archipelago off the southernmost tip of the South American mainland, across the Strait of Magellan. The archipelago consists of the main island, Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, with an area of 48,100 km2, a group of many islands, including Cape Horn and Diego Ramírez Islands. Tierra del Fuego is divided between Chile and Argentina, with the latter controlling the eastern half of the main island and the former the western half plus the islands south of Beagle Channel; the southernmost extent of the archipelago is at about latitude 55 S. The earliest known human settlement in Tierra del Fuego dates to around 8,000 BCE. Europeans first explored the islands during Ferdinand Magellan's expedition of 1520. Settlement by those of European descent and the great displacement of the native populations did not begin until the second half of the 19th century, at the height of the Patagonian sheep farming boom and of the local gold rush. Today, petroleum extraction dominates economic activity in the north of Tierra del Fuego, while tourism and Antarctic logistics are important in the south.
The earliest human settlement occurred around 8,000 BCE. The Yaghan were some of the earliest known humans to settle in Tierra del Fuego. Archeological sites with characteristics of their culture have been found at locations such as Navarino Island; the name Tierra del Fuego was given by the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan while sailing for the Spanish Crown in 1520. He believed he was seeing the many fires of the Yaghan, which were visible from the sea, that the "Indians" were waiting in the forests to ambush his armada. In 1525 Francisco de Hoces was the first to speculate that Tierra del Fuego was one or more islands rather than part of what was called Terra Australis. Francis Drake in 1578 and a Dutch East India Company expedition in 1616 learned more about the geography; the latter expedition named Cape Horn. On his first voyage with HMS Beagle in 1830, Robert FitzRoy picked up four native Fuegians, including "Jemmy Button" and brought them to England; the surviving three were taken to London to meet the King and Queen and were, for a time, celebrities.
They returned to Tierra del Fuego in Beagle with FitzRoy and Charles Darwin, who made extensive notes about his visit to the islands. During the second half of the 19th century, the archipelago began to come under Chilean and Argentine influence. Both countries sought to claim the whole archipelago based on de jure Spanish colonial titles. Salesian Catholic missions were established in Dawson Island. Anglican missions were established by British colonists at Keppel Island in the Falklands in 1855 and in 1870 at Ushuaia on the main island, which continued to operate through the 19th century. Thomas Bridges learned the language and compiled a 30,000-word Yaghan grammar and dictionary while he worked at Ushuaia, it was considered an important ethnological work. An 1879 Chilean expedition led by Ramón Serrano Montaner reported large amounts of placer gold in the streams and river beds of Tierra del Fuego; this prompted massive immigration to the main island between 1883 and 1909. Numerous Argentines and Croatians settled in the main island, leading to increased conflicts with native Selk'nam.
Julius Popper, a Romanian explorer, was one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the region. Granted rights by the Argentine government to exploit any gold deposits he found in Tierra del Fuego, Popper has been identified as a central figure in the Selk'nam genocide. Following contact with Europeans, the native Selk'nam and Yaghan populations were reduced by unequal conflict and persecution by settlers, by infectious diseases to which the indigenous people had no immunity, by mass transfer to the Salesian mission of Dawson Island. Despite the missionaries' efforts, many natives died. Today, only a few Selk'nam remain; some of the few remaining Yaghan have settled in Villa Ukika in Navarino Island. Following the signing of the Boundary Treaty of 1881, Tierra del Fuego was divided between Argentina and Chile; the gold rushes of the late 19th century led to the founding of numerous small settlements by immigrants such as the Argentine settlements of Ushuaia and Río Grande and the Chilean settlements of Porvenir and Puerto Toro.
In 1945 a division of Chilean CORFO engaged in oil exploration made a breakthrough discovery of oil in northern Tierra del Fuego. Extraction began in 1949, in 1950 the state created ENAP to deal with oil extraction and prospecting; until 1960, most oil extracted in Chile came from Tierra del Fuego. During the 1940s Chile and Argentina formulated their Antarctic claims; the governments realized the key role of Tierra del Fuego's geographical proximity in backing their claims as well as in supplying their Antarctic bases. In the 1950s, the Chilean military founded Puerto Williams to counter Ushuaia's monopoly as the only settlement in the Beagle Channel, a zone where Argentina disputed the 1881 borders. In the 1960s and 1970s, sovereignty claims by Argentina over Picton and Nueva Islands in Tierra del Fuego led the two countries in December 1978 to the brink of war. In response to the threat of an Argentine invasion, minefields were deployed and bunkers built on the Chilean side in some areas of Tierra del Fuego.
The threat of war caused the Chilean Pin
Isla de los Estados
Isla de los Estados is an Argentine island that lies 29 kilometres off the eastern extremity of the Argentine portion of Tierra del Fuego, from which it is separated by the Le Maire Strait. It was named after the Netherlands States-General, its original Dutch name was identical to that of the New York borough of Staten Island; the island is administratively part of the Argentinian province of Tierra del Fuego, of the department and city of Ushuaia. It has been declared an "Ecological and Tourist Provincial Reserve", with access limited to tours from Ushuaia; the only settlement is the Puerto Parry Naval Station, located in a deep and narrow fjord on the northern coast of the island. The naval station, established in 1978, is manned by a team of four marines on a 45-day rotation, they monitor environmental conservation and ship movements, provide emergency assistance. Prior to European arrival, the islands were visited by the Haush who inhabited the Mitre Peninsula; the first European to discover the island was the Spanish naval captain Francisco de Hoces, when in 1526 the ship San Lesmes, from the Spanish expedition of Loaísa, separated from the rest in a storm, being displaced to the south parallel 55, becoming the discoverer of the great island east of Tierra del Fuego, which would be called the Island of the States or Staten Island.
A century after the Spaniards, the Dutch explorers Jacob le Maire and Willem Schouten passed the island on 25 December 1615, naming it Staten Landt. Le Maire and Schouten sailed their ship, through a route south of the Straits of Magellan, a route now called the Le Maire Strait. To his left Le Maire noted the land mass. Dutch captain Hendrik Brouwer recorded sighting the island in 1643. No Europeans are known to have settled on the island for more than 200 years. In 1862 Argentine pilot Luis Piedrabuena established a shelter near Port Cook, built a small seal oil extraction facility on the island. On New Year's Day, 1775, Captain James Cook named what is now "Puerto Año Nuevo", "New Years Island". Seal hunters established a short-lived factory there, but abandoned it after Duke of York wrecked there on 11 September 1787 while bringing supplies; the island is referenced in Richard Henry Dana Jr.'s book "Two Years Before the Mast" as the first land they see after leaving San Diego. He describes the land as "... bare and girt with rocks and ice, with here and there, between rocks and broken hillocks, a little stunted vegetation of shrubs..."
More than twenty years the San Juan del Salvamento Lighthouse was inaugurated on May 25, 1884, by Comodoro Augusto Lasserre. It operated until September 1900; the lighthouse, better known as Faro del fin del mundo, is said to have inspired Jules Verne's novel The Lighthouse at the End of the World. A military prison was based on the island from 1899 to 1902, it had to be moved to Tierra del Fuego after being compromised by the strong winds. The island is 65 kilometres long east-west, 15 kilometres wide, with an area of 534 square kilometres; the island is indented by bays. Its highest point is 823 metres, is considered to be the last prominence of the Andes mountain range, it receives around 2,000 millimetres of rain per year. The island is surrounded by minor islands and rocks, the largest being Observatorio island 6.5 kilometres north, with an area of 4 square kilometres. At the eastern end of the island is Cape St John, a landmark for ships sailing around the island in order to avoid the currents and tides of the Le Maire Strait to the west.
The island has a cold and humid climate and is characterized by rapid and unpredictable changes in the weather from day to day. Under the Köppen climate classification, despite the vegetation, it would be classified as a mild tundra climate, a cold climate with a mean temperature in the warmest month below 10 °C with abundant precipitation year-round; the climate of the island is influenced by the subpolar low pressure system which develops around the Antarctic Circle and the surrounding oceans. Being located between the semi–permanent high pressure cell and the subpolar low, the island is exposed to westerlies throughout the year. Temperatures are low year round but without extreme minimum temperatures; the mean temperature in summer is 8.3 °C with mean extremes of 16.2 °C and 3.0 °C while in winter, the mean temperature is 3.3 °C with mean extremes of 7.7 °C and −4 °C. Mean temperatures are lower in Tierra del Fuego but due to the moderating influence of the ocean, extreme minimum temperatures are higher than in Tierra del Fuego.
Coastal areas have average temperatures above 0 °C in the coldest month while higher altitude locations may average below 0 °C. Though no reliable records are available, it is estimated that the island averages around 2,000 mm of precipitation per year. However, owing to its relief, precipitation is variable across the island. In the eastern parts of the island, it averages 1,400 mm based on 4 years of data. Precipitation occurs o